What is Sunbird Trust?

Sunbird Trust is a non-religious non-profit organisation striving for peace and progress in conflict affected North East India through the medium of education. Reaching out to the most underprivileged communities, irrespective of religion, caste or race, Sunbird works to bring about lasting peace and understanding for a better future of self-reliance, dignity and hope. Starting in Mizoram in 2004 as an informal initiative of a group of friends, Sunbird Trust was formally launched at Bangalore on 11 Dec 2014 as a registered Trust with its national office at Bangalore. It is governed by two Trustees and advised by a Board of Advisors.
Sunbird enables a positive change cycle through a network of beneficiaries who become its contributors and support education and self-reliance for the next generation.

Does Sunbird have any religious, cultural, political or other affiliations?

No. Sunbird is a humanitarian organization with no extraneous agenda other than service to people regardless who they are. It prides itself on its diversity and its members and beneficiaries come from all communities. We extend help to all deserving people irrespective of religion, caste, creed, sex or community.

What does Sunbird do?

Peace through education is the focus of Sunbird’s activities. In a region plagued by mistrust and violence, Sunbird is a niche organization working in a poor security environment in the remotest areas with the most underprivileged and marginalized people. Sunbird pursues its Mission through education working with communities, families and children in their quest for development and to improve their lot in life. Sunbird works through grassroots volunteers drawn from its supported communities as well as Women’s self-help organizations, youth groups and village development councils.

Where does Sunbird Work?

Sunbird is currently working in three North East Indian states, viz Manipur, Nagaland and Assam with plans to extend to Tripura and Mizoram. It works with eleven major partner schools in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam directly benefiting over 320 children through child sponsorship and Nutrition Schemes.

What is Child Sponsorship?

Child Sponsorship is a commitment you, the generous sponsor makes to help give access to education for an underprivileged child in a conflict affected part of India. Through this committed and regular contribution, you change the life of not only the child but also his or her family and community. You, the generous sponsor, will have the satisfaction of making a difference in a largely neglected part of your country and investing in building a new India.

Is Sponsoring a Child, the best way to make a difference?

Yes. In the remote areas where Sunbird works, many children don’t make it to school being unable to pay the fees. These vulnerable youngsters are then condemned to the poverty of their parents and could be radicalized, seek routes to easy money to survive, or even take to drugs and crime. A single child sponsored through to graduation and employment, could lift an entire family out of poverty and help other family members cross the threshold to self-sufficiency.

How do I know my contribution is utilized correctly for its intended purpose? Is any audit of Sunbird’s accounts carried out?

When you make a contribution, wherever possible, you will be informed about the contact details of the beneficiary as well as the school principal and will be able to interact with them or even visit them personally. You will have the choice of whether you want to reveal your own identity or not. You will also be provided with the annual report card of the child on request and an annual newsletter of Sunbird.
Sunbird will follow best practices in its accounting, bookkeeping and audit. Our annual report will contain the audited financial statement of the previous year and can be obtained on request. Sunbird will remain accountable to its stakeholders – its donors, local community, beneficiaries and the Government maintaining the highest levels of transparency in all transactions. Sunbird’s current auditors are Sridhar and Brito, located at Bangalore.

In what way does my sponsored child and his or her family benefit?

First and foremost, a sponsored child gets access to a decent school education. Your support will provide a child with an education directly helping the family and the community itself. The child thus not only gets a happy, healthy childhood, but also the opportunity to becoming a self-reliant productive member of society.

Why does Sunbird partner with so many private schools instead of Government schools?

Sunbird’s first priority is the child’s interests. When Government schools are below standard and frequently non-functional, it makes sense to support the child in a school that is the choice of the parents. However, in doing so, it is ensured that the school is service, not profit minded and that it provides a reasonable quality of education under existing constraints.

How does Sunbird ensure that contributions of donors are not used for wrong purposes by the partner school?

Sunbird insists of receipts in the name of the child from the school to avoid malpractice. Sunbird also considers any attempt to interfere in the culture and religion of a child is a violation of the rights and dignity of the child and his or her family. Principals of all schools sign an undertaking that misusing the sponsorship to interfere in the culture or religion of the child would result in cancelling the partnership with Sunbird.

Is there any specific age for a child to be sponsored?

You are free to exercise your preference of age and sex of the child (provided you prefer a female child). Most sponsored children are in the age group of 5 to 16.

For how long can I sponsor a child?

In the interest of the child, a long-term commitment of 10 years or more is ideal. You could continue with this sponsorship provided Sunbird continues to be associated with the partner school. However, should you be unable to continue the sponsorship at any time, Sunbird will endeavor to see that the child is not affected by getting him or her another sponsor at the earliest.

What are details I should mention while corresponding with Sunbird regarding my Child?

For efficient and speedy processing of transactions, it would be helpful if you quote your Sponsor ID and the Child ID, both of which are unique numbers.

What information about my sponsored child will I get?

After you sponsor your child, you will be sent a picture of the child with full details of his or her family and community. At the end of the academic year, you will receive a report card of the child on request. You will be provided with the full contact details of the family and the school should you want to enquire about the progress of the child or even speak to the child. Whether or not you want to share your contact details is your personal choice. Once in the year, you will receive the Sunbird annual report. On request, it will be possible to give you more details of the village and community from which the child comes.

How many children can I sponsor?

There is a huge “waiting list” for sponsorship among the neediest communities here in North East India – so you are invited to sponsor as many children as you can afford.

How are children chosen for sponsorship?

Children are chosen on a means cum merit basis. Usually, the partner school or else the village community get to nominate the neediest children and this list is vetted and approved by Sunbird. No preference whatsoever is given on base of religion, caste, creed or tribe. There is also no discrimination on basis of sex while choosing the beneficiaries, but specific preference for sponsoring girl child is entertained.

Am I the only sponsor of a child?

Yes. A list of sponsors linked children with unique IDs will be maintained at all times. However, in exceptional cases post where children are being sponsored post 10th standard and where they have to pay heavy tuition and boarding fees in private institutions, one or more sponsors can help bear this expense in which case all the sponsors will be kept informed.

Can I be directly in touch with my child?

Yes. Sunbird encourages direct mentorship as this would be in the child’s interests.

Can I send extra money to the child and the family? What about gifts?

As money could cause jealousy with other beneficiaries, Sunbird recommends that any extra money or gifts be sent discreetly to the family.

Is it possible for me to visit my sponsored child?

Of course! You would then be able to see the impact of your contribution to transforming the life of the child and his or her family. Such a visit would also help build personal relations with families in conflict affected areas and help foster friendship and understanding. Please write to Sunbird well in advance for guidance and assistance as travelling in remote areas of the NE requires adequate knowledge and advance preparation.

Can I sponsor handicapped, orphaned or HIV infected children?

While Sunbird does not run orphanages, there are often handicapped children or orphaned children and these can be sponsored on availability. And yes, there are a number of HIV infected children who can be sponsored. However, Sunbird mandates that identity of these children not be shared with anyone else but the sponsor.

Why are there flexible rates of sponsorship for children post 10th Standard?

When children have to leave their village schools and select schools in the bigger towns in Manipur to attend junior college or graduation, they invariably have to stay in expensive hostels. Moreover, the rates of tuition fees depend on the course and the institution chosen. It is therefore not possible to apply a “one size fits all” template thus mandating flexible rates of sponsorship

What is the Nutrition Scheme?

With the well-known link between proper nutrition and education, Sunbird strives to provide basic nutrition for its sponsored children, especially those falling under the “self-help” category. Children sponsored under the Nutrition Scheme are provided with “an egg a working day” or equivalent if vegetarian (about 270 days in the year), through the school or Women’s Self Help Group. Regular monitoring and checks carried out through the Sunbird Team.

Is the Nutrition Scheme inherent under the “Sponsor A Child” Scheme?

No. Nutrition Scheme is applied to eligible children only when specific donations are raised for the same.

How are children chosen under the Nutrition Scheme?

In partner villages, the local school, hostel, village school or Women’s Self Help groups are entrusted with the task of identifying the poorest children. Thereafter, Sunbird vets these lists for impartiality and sanctions the Nutrition Scheme.

Why doesn’t Sunbird run a mid-day meal scheme instead of the Nutrition Scheme?

Many of Sunbird supported communities are in very remote and inaccessible areas. Here, monitoring of a full-fledged Nutrition Scheme is not viable. It is also expensive to hire cooks and infrastructure for cooking regular meals. Instead, an egg or equivalent vegetarian provisions are given to the institution or even directly to the self help children. The scheme is closely monitored

What are ways in which I can make my payment?

You can make your payment monthly, quarterly, biannually or annually, whatever suits you best. You could send your contribution online or through money order, demand draft, cheque. You can send post-dated cheques to save you the hassle of remembering and corresponding time and again. You could also authorize monthly deductions from your credit card till further written notice from you. All cheques/DDs should favour “Sunbird Trust” and sent to our registered office at 23/2 Rest House Crescent, Bangalore - 560001. The simplest way of contributing however should be through our online payment gateway (Currently under construction).
Details of the Sunbird Trust Account Number are as under:-
Sunbird Trust,
Savings Bank Account Number: 34654481744
IFSC Code: SBIN0007987
CIF Number: 88178288218
State Bank of India,
Church Street,
Bank Phone Number - +91-80-25588312

Is my online contribution safe?

Of course! Sunbird will adhere to inbuilt world class safety standards.

Is it possible to send my contribution directly to the child’s family?

No. Sunbird discourages sending money directly to the family to avoid misuse. It is preferable that the money be sent directly to Sunbird.

Do I get a tax concession with my donation?

Sunbird has applied to the Income Tax Department for concessions under section 80G of the Income Tax act. The same is expected shortly. Till received, there is no concession.

Can I sponsor specific items of infrastructure or amenities for the hostel children?

Most certainly! The Sunbird website will regularly project a list of infrastructure items and amenities such as toilets, bathroom, study halls or even sports equipment, games and musical instruments. These would require varied contributions that would be indicated to the contributor. You are even free to suggest a specific item you would like to contribute, and if deemed necessary by Sunbird and the partner school/community, your choice will be implemented with your donation.

What happens if I am suddenly constrained to discontinue my contribution?

We understand if you are not able to continue your contribution. Sunbird will endeavour to protect the child’s interests by continuing the sponsorship through another donor.